MIAMI - Stoic as always, Roy Halladay's expression never changed.
Until the end, that is.
Until there was history — a perfect game, the marquee performance of his All-Star career.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ ace threw the 20th perfect game in major league history, beating the Florida Marlins, 1-0, on Saturday night.
When he got pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino to hit a grounder to third for the 27th out, only then could Halladay bask in his moment — breaking into a big smile and wrapping his arms around catcher Carlos Ruiz before disappearing in a joyous, jumping gray-and-red mob of teammates.
“It’s never something that you think is possible,” Halladay said. “Really, once I got the two outs, I felt like I had a chance. You’re always aware of it. It’s not something that you expect.”
It was the second perfect game in the majors this month alone, unheralded Dallas Braden doing it for Oakland against Tampa Bay on May 9. It’s the first time in the modern era that there were a pair of perfectos in the same season — Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter, too, in April.
Halladay struck out 11, and was cheered by a crowd of 25,086 throughout much of the game.
“Early in my bullpen I was hitting spots more than I have been. I felt like I just carried that out there,” Halladay said.
While there were good plays behind him — shortstop Wilson Valdez went deep into the hole for a grounder, third baseman Juan Castro went to his knees for another, second baseman Chase Utley ranged to his left for another fine play — Halladay didn’t need any great defensive work in this gem.